Sanwo-Olu: Lagos Councils Must Deliver

Sanwo-Olu: Lagos Councils Must Deliver

Joy was bold on the faces of the new local government chairmen as they were inaugurated, following their victory at the polls.

Many of them were returning for a second term. Some are new on the job. But, all were seized by excitement at the Government House, Alausa, Ikeja, venue of the event. Decked in colourful attires, the chairmen were not accompanied by huge crowd,  due to the rampaging Covid-19 pandemic.

It was nevertheless,  a solemn ceremony as Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu highlighted the challenges of grassroots administration and expectations by Lagosians across the 20 local governments and 37 local council developmental areas.

The governor emphasised the need for them to replicate his achievements at the local government level. He is conscious of the fact that local government is the closest to the people. If the state government is performing wonders and the effort is not complemented by the council administrations, the huge gap will impact negatively on development. Therefore, Sanwo-Olu said they must justify their administrative and financial autonomy.

Most chairmen are products of bitter intra-party contests that shook the platform. Having triumphed during the shadow poll or selection process, and the ultimate election, they should see their victory as a call to duty and service to Lagosians.

Also, the chairmen, Sanwo-Olu said, should live above the acrimony that characterised the electioneering, adding that they should shun vendetta and the tendency to eliminate political opponents.

Local government administration is beset by many problems. Under the Nigerian defective federalism, there is neither a consensus nor a definite constitutional position  on the status of the local government as a third tier.

According to the 1999 Constitution, democratically elected local governments are guaranteed. But, since the councils are extention or administrative units of the state governments created for ease of administration, the onus is on state governments to set in motion the machinery for the conduct of council polls.

There is the subsisting conflict between the distant Federal Government and state governments over the control of the councils. While the local governments are creations of the Houses of Assembly, the councils receive allocations from the Federal Government.

Generally, many councils are empty in terns of internally generated revenue. Also, the capacity of the local governments to drive development at the grassroots is suspect. Technicians pose as council engineers and bookkeepers masquerade as accountants.

It is also evident that the councils are poorly supervised or monitored by the Houses of Assembly, which had refused to pay adequate attention to oversight functions. In many states, councils are bastion of corruption. Council chairmen indulge in vulgarian lifestyle. They lack vision of grassroots governance. According to analysts, a searchlight should always be beamed on the academic and moral credentials of would-be councillors, supervisors, vice chairmen and chairmen to prevent a situation where charlatans would get to office and wreck havoc on the system.

Lagos councils, more or less, stand out, due to the advantage of consistent progressive state administrations since 1999. In the recent election, it is believed that Sanwo-Olu’s developmental strides gave sweeping victory to Lagos State All Progressives Congress (APC).

Since the adventure of the of Fourth Republic, Lagos State has remained a progressive stronghold run by the same political structure.

The first governor in this dispensation, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, came into power on the platform of  the Alliance for Democracy (AD), which later metamorphosised into Action Congress (AC) and much later, Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN). Through this political transition, the party’s focus on bottom up developmental initiatives has not changed. The Council was at the centre of every action plan. This accounted for the creation of 37 more Local Councils Development Areas by the Bola Tinubu administration aimed at bringing governance closer to the grassroots people.

The development continued under the All Progressives Congress (APC), which came into being in 2014 after the merger by the ACN, Congress for Political Change (CPC), All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Two years after, the ruling party swept the 20 local governments and 37 LCDAs chairmanship seats and 370 of the 377 councillorship seats during the 2017 council elections. The same feat was repeated during the election that produced the  Sanwo-Olu as the fourth governor.

Sanwo-Olu is also guarding the ‘legacy’ jealously as his emergence as governor has strengthened the ruling party in Lagos State, making it an acceptable party to Lagosians due to his developmental strides in the last two years. Sanwo-Olu’s ‘Greater Lagos’ vision, which he is already bringing to life through the THEMES developmental agenda, has been a blessing to the political fold.

Sanwo-Olu has shown leadership in Lagos State by delivering dividends of democracy and good governance to citizens of the State since his assumption into office on May 29, 2019. His achievements has earned him recognitions and awards locally and nationally as one of the best performing governors in Nigeria. Last Saturday’s landslide victory of APC in the State local government elections across the 57 councils and 377 wards did not surprise millions of Lagosians. It was a testament of the developmental strides, which has made the All Progressives Congress the best option for the residents.

The July 24 local government elections produced smiles and tears, losers and winners, heroes and villains as well as additional feathers to the political caps of some politicians and political gladiators at state, local government and ward levels. One of those who got a notch in their belt after the keenly contested election was Governor Sanwo-Olu for successfully continuing the legacy of the ruling party by sweeping all seats during election.

Also, the election was adjudged to be one of the freest and fairest. There was no single report of breakdown of law and order, ballot box snatching, fighting and others vices associated with elections of that magnitude.

As the number one citizen, a lot was expected from the governor as many entrusted him to deliver for his party. As a seasoned administrator and manager of human and resources, the governor never disappointed in sweeping victories for Lagos APC during the council polls. He was fully involved in the electioneering as he joined party members in presenting APC flag to chairmanship candidates at the party’s secretariat on Sunday July 18.

Speaking at the handing over of party flags to the 57 chairmanship candidates ahead of the elections, Sanwo-Olu charged them to replicate the political victories of the party across the country in the poll.

He said the party’s current successes, culminating in the mass defections the party showed the acceptance of the party by the people.

“We are believing that this significant event will signpost our seriousness in our next local government election. And we are certain that the success we are currently enjoying at the national and states will also be translated at the local government elections as well.

The governor added that the local government is a critical arm of government, saying: “We have three tiers of government and everybody has their roles and responsibilities. But as a state government, we will continue to ensure that our development agenda is spread across the state and because we own all the local governments we will ensure it is reflective in all local governments and that is what we are doing.

“So, what we expect from them is to key into our agenda. So that when they come in, they can also hit the ground running in all the wards that we have. We expect them to start work immediately. The state government will carry out some projects in the wards but we expect complimentary roles from these chairmen; we expect them to compliment that and do more.”

Also, the election was adjudged to be one of the freest and fairest. There was no single report of breakdown of law and order, ballot box snatching, fighting and others vices associated with elections of that magnitude.

As the number one citizen, a lot was expected from the governor as many entrusted him to deliver for his party. As a seasoned administrator and manager of human and resources, the governor never disappointed in sweeping victories for Lagos APC during the council polls. He was fully involved in the electioneering as he joined party members in presenting APC flag to chairmanship candidates at the party’s secretariat on Sunday July 18.

Speaking at the handing over of party flags to the 57 chairmanship candidates ahead of the elections, Sanwo-Olu charged them to replicate the political victories of the party across the country in the poll.

He said the party’s current successes, culminating in the mass defections the party showed the acceptance of the party by the people.

“We are believing that this significant event will signpost our seriousness in our next local government election. And we are certain that the success we are currently enjoying at the national and states will also be translated at the local government elections as well.

The governor added that the local government is a critical arm of government, saying: “We have three tiers of government and everybody has their roles and responsibilities. But as a state government, we will continue to ensure that our development agenda is spread across the state and because we own all the local governments we will ensure it is reflective in all local governments and that is what we are doing.

“So, what we expect from them is to key into our agenda. So that when they come in, they can also hit the ground running in all the wards that we have. We expect them to start work immediately. The state government will carry out some projects in the wards but we expect complimentary roles from these chairmen; we expect them to compliment that and do more.”

Oyetoro

Oyetoro

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